Much criticism is levelled at the UK First Passed the Post system by certain elements of British society, and it is acknowledged that Britain lacks a written constitution other than Magna Carta (AD 1215) and the 1689 Bill of Rights, and certain parliamentary and Sovereign traditions. Additionally, some people take the view that the present first passed the post electoral system is innately unfair, and accordingly postulate Proportional Representation ( transferable voting ) or fixed term parliaments or compulsory voting.

All such approaches are fundamentally flawed.

1) Proponents of PR miss the very fundamental conflict of their central premise of sustainability over time.

If, say an election is won on a PR basis resulting in a 10% voting majority for the governing party, and the presumption is that the elected government shall serve for five years but, if within a much shorter period - say 12 months -- 5% of the electorate die, and another 5% of people become of voting age, where is the demonstrable PR. Does such an illegitimate government presume they have the right to stay in power for another four years, and remain representative of the people contrary to their principles of PR and the demographic change.

2) Fixed term parliaments: yet another intellectually unsustainable concept. Many commentators have made the very pertinent observation; "what happens when they (the MP's) screw up"? We, the electorate have got to be able to get rid of the dumbos. And, more simply, if a fixed term government loses a vote of confidence, is this to be ignored, and they be allowed to blunder on, screwing up for another x years. And, what is to happen when the coalition parties Fall Out ?

3) Compulsory voting: is just childish. You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink. How would a dissenting voter be forced to vote; in leg irons? or would the Constitutional Police watch over the shoulder of the dissident voter to ensure his/her Secret vote did not record some unmentionable opinion or would there be a criminal penalty for not attending the polling station.

What would any of that do to enhance the respect of politicians ?

x x x x

All of the above delinquencies are over come by the adoption of FDP equitable voting precepts.

a) The first FDP parliament would be elected to serve (notionally) for a six year term.

b) After three years 50 % of Constituencies, evenly spread geographically, regardless of Party affiliations would become due for re-election.

It is recognised that initially this would introduce a step change in constitutional procedure, and there would be an attendant risk in the first instance of who was at risk of a three year term. Accordingly, the initial target seats would best be selected by an all party select committee within say the first six months of the implementation parliamentary session. With or without, cross party support primary legislation would be necessary.

The initial targeted three year term MPs would of course, be elibible to stand for a subsequent 6 year term.

c) All subsequent elections would be for a full six year term but only half the total number of constituency MP's would become due for re-election every three years. This would concentrate the minds of the majority party, ensuring that the political pendulum is not forced too far Right or Left because the government would be forced to "keep their ear to the ground", and not disregard the public mood. True democracy is thereby enshrined and strengthened.

d) Proportionality would also be built into the FDP electoral concept by halving the number of constituencies but doubling there size (in voter numbers) and electing two MP's per constituency: the first two passed the post.

The advantage of this system is two fold in that it builds in an element of proportional representation but also gives a constituent with a problem a choice as to with whom he/she can pursue a grievance.

e) An FDP preferred variation on d) would be to reduce the total number of Westminster MPs: 646 is far too many in today's world of fast communications; travel and electronic mail, plus the fact that we now have Welsh and Scottish assemblies, relieving Westminster of much previous work and responsibility. An arbitrary cull to about 500 might be more appropriate.

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Last Updated (Thursday, 13 May 2010 10:07)

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